Some of the most successful companies in the world outsource fulfillment services in order to keep up with their high volume of customer requests. One of the greatest things about being a business owner is that there are always plenty of options when it comes to making sure that the customer is properly taken care of. Most business owners learn very quickly that it is next to impossible to take care of the needs of customers and balance the inner workings of the business without help.
Customer Fulfillment Options
There are plenty of ways that a business could guarantee customer fulfillment with every order, however, the ones that cost the less and are the most effective will vary from business to business.
Some of the popular ways that companies deliver fulfillment are:
- In-house employees designated to the fulfillment department
- In-house employees from alternate departments
- Hiring independent contractors
- Partnering up with another company that can share tasks and expenses
- Hiring a third-party company to handle all of it
Although all of the options above are great, not all businesses will be able to create an entire department and employ people full-time to keep up with orders. As a matter of fact, many businesses find that they spend less money and cut risks when they hire an outsourced company to handle their entire fulfillment operation.
What is Considered Fulfillment?
The scale of fulfillment can vary from one business to the next. Essentially, fulfillment is making sure that the customer is taken care of when they order something. The way that the fulfillment happens is altogether another story.
Types of fulfillment can be:
- eCommerce stores
- Online grocery shopping fulfillment
- Pharmaceutical orders
- Dispatching drivers
The most popular fulfillment need is for online shoppers whether it is an eCommerce store for clothes, or ordering medication from an online pharmacy.
In either circumstance, there will be a need for products to be housed in a warehouse, or garage so that they can be shipped out to the customer and delivered in a timely manner. A high-quality outsourced fulfillment company will include benefits such as a qualified crew and a full warehouse that carries all of the stock that the company sells.
The way it works is when a customer goes online or makes a phone call to place an order the system will collect the necessary information in order to facilitate the transaction. When the order is complete, and the payment method is finalized, the next step in the process will be to fill the order, to package the order, then finally send the order to the customer.
In many cases it is not just as simple as picking one thing out and then mailing it to the customer, sometimes it is a matter of heavy objects in bulk that take lots of special care to get from one place to another.
Regardless of the order, or the type of merchandise -or service- that is being requested, the most important part is that the customer gets what they asked for in a timely manner. There is so much competition out there losing customers can be as easy as breathing the wrong way.
From the moment of the order through the locating the items in the physical market area, then packaging, sending, then finally delivering the product to the customer is the entire fulfillment process. There can be many steps in this process, depending on the size of the order and the type of order it is.
Warehousing and Shipping
There are companies that are constantly shipping and receiving materials at the capacity of millions of transactions every day. If you consider the size and the function of Amazon it is not difficult to do the math and realize that they are incredibly large and handle millions of pounds of merchandise each day.
Well, believe it or not, Amazon is not the only company with large, heavy demands. Several different companies throughout the United States from various markets are fulfilling thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of orders every day.
When you look at the situation from the standpoint that a warehouse can fulfill millions of orders every day, you can get a picture of why it would make sense to hire an entire warehouse establishment to carry out the orders.
Fulfillment companies that offer warehouse and shipping services in the package are able to accommodate huge businesses with heavy demands. Since the company is a separate entity from your own business, it is their responsibility to make sure workers show up and do their jobs. Instead of being in charge of and responsible for an entire crew of people and a warehouse full of shipping and receiving equipment allowing an outsourced company to handle all of it reduces costs and risks.
The third-party company will pay for wages, insurance, equipment, and most of the other expenses, then charge you a flat rate that takes you off of any liability hooks.
Although there are many businesses that can afford to implement a fully- stocked warehouse that is equipped with forklifts, staff, and other necessary amenities, most businesses will benefit much more by paying a flat rate for an entire fulfillment solution instead of paying the price of fully burdened employees and millions of dollars of equipment.
Customer Care and Satisfaction
The only way businesses stay in business is if they take care of their customers. Companies that have a track record of not completing their transactions, or treating customers badly risk the circumstance of getting a bad reputation. With the way that modern business is done by reviews and public mentions, it is not worth it to get a bad rap.
Some of the perks of outsourcing fulfillment services are that you get a company that has experience dealing with customers and fulfilling orders in a way that is very similar to the way that you prefer to do business.
The way that outsourcing can be so beneficial is that many of the companies that offer services such as these are extremely large and have a large number of customers. This gives them an advantage in a way that benefits their clients, and themselves at the same time. It’s kind of like buying in bulk.
Outsourcing companies hire professionals that know how to provide stellar customer service while fulfilling the needs of the orders. Yes, your business is unique, however, the formula to keep businesses going strong works in every business, so when the outsourcing company knows the formula, they will serve as ambassadors to your company in a manner that is appealing and trustworthy in all aspects of business success.
The answer to the question regarding when it is time to outsource fulfillment services is pretty straightforward. If you are in a position that you could benefit from having all of the bells and whistles of a full department of specialists and all of the equipment to go with it but can’t afford to build you own, it might be a perfect time to seek out an outsourcing establishment. In addition to cost cuts, professional services, and other great amenities a high-quality third party can deliver the type of services that your customers will appreciate and keep coming back to over and over again.